It was after 8:30 on Saturday night. We were hungry and good enough to drive. On a pizza-plus-attraction whim, we went to Organ Stop Pizza.
It was hard to tell what was around Southern and Stapley at 9 o’clock at night. Of course there were strip malls. Were they surrounded by dirt? Tract homes? There was a comforting, ubiquitous Walgreen’s with the Organ Stop sign pointing to the pizza next door.
At 9 on a Saturday night, we had the run of the pizza place. It seemed the patrons that were left were families taking grandparents out for a night, children along for the ride. We ordered up front and walked our water glasses to the great room.
It was dim with rows of tables like a Viking feast hall. The back wall was lined with windows and instruments, with rows of bellows like batteries in a telephone switch. We asked when the next performance was and it was any minute.
The answer might have well been a black and gold Vincent Price organ spinning up from a basement, because that’s what happened.
A well dressed gentleman played and talked and took requests. Our order number lit up on a keno board and we grabbed our pepperoni and mushroom pizza. It was good – the best of pizza attraction pizza, almost to the point of good local joint pizza.
The mechanical sound and motion were trippy in the empty restaurant. Then the demon cat marionettes were unleashed and we lost it.
The 40 plus year old Organ Stop is from another time. It’s more of an attraction for grandparents than kids, like heading to the Elks Lodge or watching Lawrence Welk. Whatever. We’re suckers for smashing stuff together with pizza, and this was a weird one.